Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Arts in General Psychology (MAGP)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Juliana Leding

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael Toglia

Rights Statement

Department Chair

Dr. Lori Lange

College Dean

Dr. Barbara A. Hetrick


Adaptive memory demonstrates that memory is enhanced when information is processed because of its relevance to survival (Nairne, Thompson, & Pandeirada, 2007). In the present experiments we examined whether there was a difference in individuals Need for Cognition (NFC) in regards to adaptive memory. Need for Cognition is characterized as the differences in individual’s preference for engaging in thought that requires effort. Specifically, individuals high in NFC could think of numerous ways to survive, thus being more likely to generate more thoughts and ideas, ultimately leading to better memory compared to low-NFC individuals. For both experiments participants read survival and moving scenarios and rated words according to each scenario. Participants received a surprise recall test on the rated words, and completed a NFC questionnaire. Experiment two examined true and false memories across multiple recall tests, giving participants three chances at recall prior to NFC scale. Results for experiment one indicated no effect of high and low NFC but there was an effect of scenario, indicating that the survival scenario led to greater recall than the moving scenario. Results for experiment two for target words, indicated that there was a significant effect for recall test as well as scenario, revealing that the survival scenario led to greater recall than the moving scenario. For false memories, high-NFC individuals gradually increased in recall from subsequent tests, compared to low-NFC individuals. Explanations for the lack of difference in high- and low-NFC individuals may be diminished from prompting a type processing that succeeds in increasing true and false memories for the low-NFC individuals, which is similar to high-NFC individuals.